project baby #2 {daphne’s birth story}

{warning: this is likely an overly long post for a lot of readers, but I wanted to share details for those who have asked & also to have a record to share with daphne one day. feel free to skip down to the pictures, or skip this post completely!}

As most of you know, I pretty much fell off the map as I neared my due date. In fact, I only blogged up to week 37!  Once I hit 38 and 39 weeks, I kept telling Aaron that I should do my weekly photo, but by 40 weeks I was over it! This is actually the final picture I took of me and the bump, on February 24th, 4 days before I went into labor. You can see I stopped wearing pants (dresses were a godsend even though it was still really cold outside!) and my toiletries and make-up were all packed up and ready to be tossed into the hospital bag (well bags, plural, because I just kept adding things!).

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Physically, those last three weeks, I felt great! I was tired, but I was actually sleeping really well, my heartburn had subsided, the baby was not into my ribs, I had zero swelling, and I didn’t have any (noticeable) early labor symptoms. BUT, mentally and emotionally I was so drained and so ready to be done. I felt like I might go into labor at any moment from February 15th on (that’s the day I had my mani/pedi so I was sure that would do it!) and so I was completely exhausted and anxious by the time my parents came into town on February 20th. We were all worried that they wouldn’t make it in time, but alas, we waited. And waited. And my dad actually extended his trip a few days, but ended up getting on a plane about 5 hours before I had my first labor contraction!

That last week was difficult for me because I felt like I couldn’t plan anything. So we would wake up in the morning and since there wasn’t a baby, we would maybe plan a short outing, just in case I went into labor. My due date was definitely the most difficult day for me, and after that, I felt like I could better handle not being in control (which I very obviously wasn’t at that point!) and try to enjoy these last days with my family and with Eloise before Baby Foot arrived. I also stopped all social media at that point, including responding to any and all texts and emails, so sorry if I was ignoring you!

On February 28th I had my 40 week (well, 39 weeks + 6) appointment with my midwife. I remember checking into the front desk and seeing the on-call board: Sarah was the on-call midwife (my favorite one since she also helped delivery Eloise) and Dr. Foltz was the on-call OB (also my favorite since she was my original OB years and years ago); I made a mental note that it would be a great day to have this baby since those are exactly the providers I would have wanted if I had my choice! It wasn’t until after Daphne was born that I actually made that connection… I think that is what I needed to get things started!

Anyways, my check-up went well with my weight and blood pressure, and baby’s heartbeat. At that point Sarah went ahead and checked to see if and how much I was dilated and I was almost 4 cm! I was really surprised since it didn’t feel like I was having early laboring at all, but clearly all that tightening in my belly (like Braxton Hicks) was having an impact. Since I my body was already dilating on it’s own, it made sense to have my membranes swept (which only is effective if you are already close to baby time, like within 48 hours!). It was so, so uncomfortable (and borderline painful!) and I was honestly uncomfortable for the remainder of the day (cramping mostly). Since I was at 41 weeks, my midwife also had me schedule an ultrasound for the end of the week as well as a non-stress test (to monitor baby’s heartbeat) which are both standard for post-due date cases. Apparently after 42 weeks the placenta stops working as efficiently so close monitoring of mama and baby are required as well as discussion about intervention.

We took it easy for the rest of the day and said good-bye to my dad. By that evening I was really feeling crampy, so I called it a night early to try to get some rest. I got ready for bed and was lying down for just a bit when I had my first (real) labor contraction. I noted the time – it was 9 pm – and tried to go to sleep. Well, that was wishful thinking because the contractions kept coming and seemed to be fairly regular. At 9:42 I called Aaron, who was upstairs watching TV with my mom, to tell him to come down and time my contractions. Within 30 minutes, my contractions were becoming regular (4 to 5 minutes apart and a minute long) and Aaron called our doula, Jennie, to give her a head’s up and have her start making her way to our house. Then Aaron called the doctor’s office to give Sarah, the midwife, an update and they agreed that we would wait for Jennie to get to the house before making any further decisions.

At 10:50 pm, Jennie arrived at our house and I was still downstairs in our bed laboring on my side (with my pregnancy pillow, thank goodness!). My contractions were still consistent, and, spoiler alert, never stopped. Jennie talked me thru my next few contractions, and I decided I was ready to head to the hospital. At that point, the last thing I wanted to do was get in the car because having contractions in the car is the worst, but I also knew that I didn’t want to have a homebirth, so there really wasn’t any choice. Aaron called Sarah back to let her know we were headed to the hospital and that we would meet her there.

We pack up our last-minute stuff (and by we I mean Aaron), and say good-bye to my mom, and get in the car around 11:30. I had a number (like 4 or 5) of contractions in the car, but luckily since it was so late, there was no traffic (even on I-5) so we made it to the hospital pretty quickly! Aaron pulled into the hospital’s parking garage at 11:40 pm. After parking, I had a few contractions on the way into the hospital, but luckily we had Jennie with us and she was able to help me as Aaron navigated us up the elevator, thru the security desk (you don’t need to show ID if you are in labor!), and up to L&D triage. My contractions were getting stronger and much more intense. At 11:50 I was checked in and at 11:55, the nurse checked and I was 7 cm dilated. I remember looking at Jennie and telling her that I needed a break. I also remember making a reference to wanting something to help with the intensity (an epidural), but no one even acknowledged it! Not because they didn’t care, but it was WAY too late by then! And really, I wanted an un-medicated labor, but I probably would have given anything to have just a minute of rest at that point! The nurses wheeled the triage bed directly to the L&D suite.

At midnight my labor was strong and from the time I got onto the triage bed, I kept my eyes closed. That was the only way I could handle the intensity of my labor. The nurses wanted me to move from the triage bed (stretcher) to the actual hospital bed, but I refused. I remember them telling me I would be way more comfortable and then I wouldn’t have to move after the baby was born, but there was seriously no way that was going to happen. I also remember seeing Sarah at this point with her scrub cap on and ready to deliver. And almost immediately upon entering our hospital room, I felt like I needed to push.

At 12:05 am, Sarah checks and I am fully dilated. She gave me the green light to start pushing even though my bag of waters was still fully intact. Once the baby started crowning, everyone could see that baby’s hair floating in the amniotic sac, which was apparently really cool. (Rarely babies are born completely in the amniotic sac, called in the caul, and it is seen as a sign of good luck!) After the baby’s head is born (and the amniotic sack breaks on it’s own), her shoulder gets stuck below my pubic bone (shoulder dystocia). I was too focused on pushing (and the pain/intensity) to really realize the severity of the situation, but Aaron has told me he was terrified. I remember hearing someone (it was Sarah) call “SHOULDER!” and then being turned onto my back by the L&D nurse (as I was pushing on my right side at the time) which was horribly, horribly painful! Apparently this was to get back-up in case the baby couldn’t turn and pass under the bone, and a physician and NICU team arrived immediately. There is a series of maneuvers that are used in this (rare) situation, and luckily, Sarah was able to get the baby turned and I was able to continue with a safe and healthy delivery in about 90 seconds. Baby Foot Lower was born at 12:19 am on March 1st!*

Despite the slight complication at the end, Baby’s APGAR scores were high (7s I think) and no visit to the NICU was necessary. And while technically the Baby’s gender was a surprise, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear it was a girl! Baby remained unnamed for at least a few hours (we were already in the post-partum room) as Aaron and I weren’t decided on a name.** We each had a name that we liked; mine was Margot and Aaron’s was Daphne. I will let you guess who won!

We were able to skin-to-skin almost right away (me and Aaron both) and by 12:50 am Baby was nursing for the first time. I remember the moment I first held Daphne that it felt so strange, like I was cheating on Eloise. It was such a weird feeling because when Eloise was born, at that moment, I was holding the little one that made me a mama, but with this second baby, I was already a mama… she felt like a stranger for just a moment! (I have heard other second-time mamas have felt the same way!)

So even though she made us wait (and wait) until March to be born, once she decided, she was here in a hurry: just over 3 hours in all.

Welcome to the world Daphne Lucille! I wouldn’t have been able to have done any of this without Aaron, Jennie, Sarah, and all of the L&D staff, and my mom who stayed with Eloise. Plus, we had so much support from friends and family. We really are so blessed!

M

And here’s Eloise’s birth story if you are interested!

*March 1st is also Aaron’s dad’s birthday, so Daphne shares the day with her Papaw.
**Many of you have asked what our boy’s name would have been, and since the likelihood of us having a third child is basically nil at this point, we have been sharing it (though we reserve the right to it if we ever do have a boy!): Fitzgerald Benjamin. Fitz as a nickname. Benjamin is a family name on both sides: Aaron’s oldest brother, and the middle name of my dad, brother, and grandfather.
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daphne {one month}

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{alligator: Jellycat // onesie: June & January // jeggings: Levi’s (old)}

{month one} This was the fastest and slowest month ever… except for maybe the first month of Eloise’s life!

Daphne is doing so well and it seems like she has been part of the family forever. And even though life is much more chaotic now than it was just a month ago, I wouldn’t change a thing! Also, having 2.5 years between the kiddos is awesome. Eloise is pretty independent and can do a lot of things on her own (which she prefers) and is also super helpful, especially since I feel like I am nursing all day long!

While not quite the marathon nurser that her sister was, Daphne still takes her sweet time during feedings. And most of the reason is because she is still so sleepy. Seriously half the time (at least) Daphne is snoozing while feeding. She still has what I call “newborn narcolepsy” in that she can instantly fall asleep! One second she will be looking around or looking right at me, and literally the next second she is asleep. I am hoping that in the coming weeks as she is awake more and more that feeding sessions will begin to shorten so that I have more time between feedings.

Daphne’s nails are growing like weeds which is good since it is a sign of being healthy but much too quickly for us to keep up. I swear even if we trimmed them every day, she still would have long nails. So, we try to keep gloves on her hands if we haven’t just trimmed her nails to avoid her scratching her face and chest. Most newborn onesies, rompers, and sleepers have gloves built-in which is awesome! I am hoping the rapid pace of her nails slows soon so that I don’t feel like she needs gloves all the time and can have access to her hands more!

We introduced a pacifier pretty early (in comparison) since nursing has been going well and Daphne has taken to a bottle well. Luckily, we were just able to use Eloise’s old ones, though you shouldn’t tell Eloise that since we told her her old ones disappeared! Daphne definitely likes a paci shortly after a feeding to help her go to sleep. Once she is asleep she will spit it out, but especially when she is fussy, a paci is tremendously helpful! Also, we just got a Nubbawub pacifier for her since it seems to help keep it in her mouth a bit longer. Honestly I sort of thought they were silly when we saw them before, but the little animal really does help keep the paci in her mouth since she sort of has something to hold onto; on the other hand, it also gives her something bigger to rip out of her mouth as well.

This kid is a pretty great sleeper. KNOCK ON WOOD! Since her first night she has slept at least 4 hours and has continued to stretch it out. I was nervous at first since you really aren’t supposed to let tiny newborns go more than 3 or 4 hours between a feeding, but since Daphne’s weight very quickly rebounded after her initial drop, we got the okay early from her ped to just let her sleep at night. Phew! A swaddle is basically key to getting this little one to sleep though. After some awake time, she generally will fuss a bit until she is swaddled up and given a paci. In the morning and early afternoon is her best time for a nap, while later in the afternoon and evening she tends to nap less and fuss more between feedings.

I had mentioned in a weekly update that Daphne is sort of already on a schedule even though she is so little. It really wasn’t my intention, but when you have another child who is on a schedule and has time specific activities (preschool drop-off and pick-up, and naptime) it sort of ends up working that way. And especially since Aaron is back at work.* But even without a schedule, we try to do the EAT, PLAY, SLEEP routine that BabyWise is so (in)famous for. Since Daphne is so little still, I don’t mind if she does fall asleep right after a feeding, but she generally follows this pattern of activity which we found really helpful with Eloise since I think it helped prevent the need to eat in order to go to sleep.

I also mentioned that I was already pumping this time around. My jaw dropped when the ped first mentioned pumping in Daphne’s second week, but it has been a good way to get my supply up and stabilized, and start a freezer stash. I am pumping just twice per day now, once in the early morning after Daphne’s 6 or 6:30 am feeding (but before Eloise is up between 7:30 and 8) and again right before I go to bed after Daphne’s last feeding. Pumping stinks, I will admit, but I have been pretty happy with my new Naya pump and also found a really good lactation cookie recipe! If you are a new mama I am happy to share!

{weight} 9 lbs 12 oz (50th percentile).
{hair} black. and a faux hawk just like big sister!
{teeth} none.
{eyes} dark grey/brown.
{clothes} newborn, 0 to 3 months, 3 months (Carter’s). any pants bigger than newborn are way too big!
{diapers} newborn {from the honest company} and cloth (g-diapers in a size small and Lil Joeys cloth).
{feeding} nursing every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day, starting around 6 am. feeding sessions last around 40 minutes (20 per side). last feeding of the day is around 11 pm which is regular nursing plus a 1.5 oz bottle of pumped milk and no middle of the night feeding!
{likes} nursing, riding in the car (usually), her big sister, singing, lights, paci, being swaddled, being bounced, sucking on her hands.
{dislikes} sponge baths, loud noises, diaper changes, having gas, being naked.

{nicknames} Daph, Bug, Snorty.

Happy One Month Daphne!

M

*Lots of you have asked about Aaron’s paternity leave. He gets 12 weeks of (paid) leave which is very generous and we feel very lucky. He took vacation time when Daphne was first born, but much like when Eloise was born, we decided it would be best if he delayed his leave until the baby was a little bigger (he has one year to take the leave). So the plan now is for Aaron to take 6 weeks this summer and 6 weeks at the beginning of next calendar year. This will allow for us to travel or just enjoy being at home together without worrying about Daphne being too young (immunizations) or feeding around the clock.

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project baby #2 {it’s a girl!}

As some of you know from calls, texts, Instagram, or Facebook, Baby Foot arrived on Wednesday, one week past my due date!

We are so thrilled to announce the newest member of our family:


Daphne Lucille Lower

March 1, 2017 | 12:19 am | 8 lbs 9 oz | 19.5 inches

We are home now and doing well, and all pretty smitten with Baby Daphne. I will be back soon with all of our updates!

Welcome to the world Daphne!

M

my weekend in pictures.

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{We visited Papa at work on Friday in his new office. Eloise approved and really liked his badge holder!}

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{We had a family dinner at the Sadliers – a super fun tradition now – and we finally wrangled the kids into jammies for story time.}

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{More baby prepping means baby gear is starting to make an appearance. Eloise is obsessed with the infant car seat!}

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{And the moment of truth came Saturday when we installed the infant car seat in the car. We have a slight issue with Aaron needing the seat back further than the car seat will allow… so, we can either put Eloise behind the driver’s seat and turn her forward-facing – which I really am not ready for! – or get her a slimmer car seat… Hopefully we have a few weeks to figure it out!}

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{Testing out my Solly Baby Wrap with one of Baby Foot’s stuffed animals and really love it! I like that it is adjustable so Aaron can wear it too if he wants. My mama got me the Rifle Paper Co. print and it is so, so beautiful!}

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{I wanted to make sure to get a picture of Eloise in her new tunic that my sister-in-law knit for her for Christmas – it is so gorgeous! And Eloise looks like she is ready to start kindergarten… where did our baby go?}

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{We discovered that Baby Stella fits into our newborn diapers. Eloise has been obsessed with changing her diaper recently.}

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{Nesting is in full effect around the Lower house and I finally got a chance to clean the fridge!}

I have purposefully not made plans for these past few weekends because my to-do list(s) are so long still and I am liking just lying-low. But, we got so much done including getting art up on Eloise’s new room and scheduling a deep house clean (YES)!

How was your weekend?

M

my weekend in pictures.

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{Amanda hosted such a fun Baby Shower/Celebration for me and Baby Foot on Saturday morning (I will be sure to share pictures soon!) and I finally got a chance to wear my new Hatch Collection jumper. A little out of my comfort zone (and Aaron doesn’t love jumpers or rompers so much) but I am in love! So comfy and I want to wear it everyday!}

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{We finally had to say good-bye to our Golf Wagen which we turned back in as part of the TDI scandal. It was a bit of a sad day.}

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{Eloise was sporting a super high pony thanks to Grammie. That face!}

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{Cuddles with this girl on a cold and blustery evening.}

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{Grammie slept in the new Murphy bed that Aaron built this fall and winter, and Eloise was obsessed. She wanted to be all tucked in with all of her friends.}

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{Cuddles with Papa while we waited for dinner this evening. Love these two.}

We had Grammie back in town and it got warmer than freezing, so it was a pretty great weekend all around! I was so honored to have a Baby Shower thrown by Amanda and loved, loved being around so many women that mean so much to me – my tribe. Tomorrow is back to normal with Eloise headed back to school and back to our regularly scheduled activities. A bit of a relief as we count down the weeks until this baby is born.

How was your weekend?

M

friday I’m in love.

Welcome back Friday & happy almost fall!

{one} Cat & Jack for Target.

Cat & Jack

{via Target}

Target has a new kids’ clothing collaboration which am slightly obsessed with: Cat & Jack. I am slightly picky about the clothes I buy for Eloise, mostly because I want her to wear normal clothes, like adults wear. So much of this line fits the bill (at least for me) and is really whimsical which I also appreciate. You can see Eloise sporting some of the line here from her first day of school.

{two} Purely Elizabeth Granola.

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{via Purely Elizabeth}

Most of the summer I noshed on Ellenos greek yogurt for breakfast, but wanted a little more heft to it since I was feeling hungry just a short while later. Since Eloise basically wants to eat anything & everything that I am eating, I set out to find something that I would feel totally comfortable with her eating too. I was super surprised to find this great line of granola (& apparently a ton of other products) at Target – though you can get it lots of places – that is organic, non-GMO, made with ancient grains, and free of refined sugar. Granola, usually, is a food that seems to be healthy but in actuality it most isn’t, though that doesn’t stop me from eating it! But this granola is so, so good, & it is healthy! I like that it isn’t overly sweet & it also isn’t super crunchy. We are all obsessed!

{three} Weekday Meals.

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad Photo

{via Food Fanatic blog}

Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Salad is a must make for any occasion in minutes! Filled with Italian seasoned grilled chicken, garlic and parmesan cheese! | http://cafedelites.com

{via Café Delites blog}

Weekday meals can be so tough since the very last thing that any of us want to do at the end of our work day is cook. But, we really prioritize a family meal every night with Eloise (except on the rare occasion Aaron as to work late) & eat a home-cooked meal at least six nights a week. I meal plan on Monday afternoon & grocery shop on Tuesday which helps keep things organized for the week, but I am always on the hunt for simple, quick, and delicious meals (aren’t we all?). Pinterest has been super awesome to us this week & I found two new meal winners: Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad and Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Salad (linked above). Even Eloise gobbled up both of these meals! What are your favorite recipes to make?

And be sure to check out what Kendra’s loving this week!

What are you loving this week?

M

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my {long} weekend in pictures.

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{On Friday, Aaron was cooking pizza for dinner so Eloise wanted to make pizza in her kitchen too!}

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{We stayed up and watched about half of a Jim Gaffigan show – he is the best!}

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{Aaron needed to run an errand at the Microsoft Store, so E and I joined along & she played with some of the computers which she calls “working.”}

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{We finally hung some frames in our entryway which has been on the list forever. These are city prints from the Rifle Paper Co calendar. Now we have a bucket list of destinations: Venice, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Cairo. I am two for five and Aaron is one for five.}

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{Crazy that I boxed up all of E’s cloth diapers this weekend. I will do an update on potty training in the coming weeks, but this girl is (basically) potty trained! Wahoo!}

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{Eloise was obsessed with the Xbox controller and this little headset this weekend. She never sees the Xbox on, except for one Daniel Tiger during the week, but knows the controller works the Xbox. She kept yelling “Colin! Colin!” (or was it “Callin’! “Callin’!”) whenever she had the headset on. It was hilarious!}

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{Our little artist had a watercolor session for her birthday thank you notes. The final products are below.}

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{Aaron has a few big projects – which we will be sure to share! – and worked really hard to get wood cut & ready this weekend.}

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{A mornings selfie by Eloise.}

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{It was cooler today so this adorable knit sweater that my sister-in-law made for E for her birthday was perfect! And that is the face that Eloise makes when you want her to pose for a picture, but she really just wants to look at your phone. “Cheese Mama!”}

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{I cropped the pages that Eloise watercolored to make postcards and then wrote her thank you notes on the back.}

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{In an effort to avoid maternity clothes for as long as possible – I especially loathe maternity denim – I DIY’d my own maternity jeans from a pair of Madewell jeans I picked up on super sale a few weeks ago. I won’t really know if they work until my bump gets bigger, but for now I don’t have to worry about spending $180 on Madewell maternity jeans that I will wear for 6 months…}

If Labor Day weekend is the official end of summer & kick-off of fall, it was certainly true in Seattle! The weather has changed (at least for the moment) to cooler, crisper, and rainier which I have been embracing with open arms!

We got quite a bit done around the house this weekend – projects that have been needing some attention – that we have been hoping to get done before fall really hits.

And we are ending the long weekend with Aaron running out to the store (at almost 11 PM) to get new batteries for our smoke detectors. One started chirping this morning, but apparently the chirping will continue until all of the batteries work? They are hard-wired too so it is a bit frustrating. Fingers crossed we can get the chirping to stop!

How was your weekend?

M